Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

The inauguration day of our 45th President was a day of despair that I spent wrapped up in a blanket shivering from illness and shuddering from the political tsunami. The stark contrast between Obama’s gracious farewell speech to the campaign of the new president-elect whose words offended everyone with his disparaging comments about women, minorities and immigrants made me cringe.

But a day later on January 21st, my spirits lifted when millions of women (and men) took to the streets in America’s largest protest ever. Wearing pink hats and carrying signs, protesters peacefully chanted slogans and mocked Trump’s sexist demeanor and discriminatory rhetoric.

I did not have the strength to join the peaceful demonstrators marching across the Mont Blanc Bridge in Geneva; I was on the phone crying with my sisters as I battled pneumonia again. Like so many other women and minorities, I am worn out. Weary from this nonsense. Why must we continue to fight the same battles we won decades ago?

My only consolation was in knowing that we are not alone. The movement spread to 670 places nationwide and overseas ranging from Berlin, London, Stockholm, Sydney and others. Spurred by Facebook event messages, thousands paraded down the Parisian boulevards protesting the sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and racist ideology Trump defended during his campaign.

Around the globe, demonstrators objected against all aspects of intolerance. In South American countries, gender violence topped the list. In Tokyo, the right to education was a major issue and in other parts of the world health care reform was the priority.

The demonstrations stemmed from Trump’s campaign fueled by audacious claims and divisive rhetoric. He dismissed allegations of sexual assault and his lewd comments, like “grab them by the pussy” as “locker room talk.”

I grew up on the sideline listening to demeaning locker room talk. The ultimate affront to emasculate a male was to call him, “a pussy” insinuating that he was a pansy, a sissy, a girl.

In the past women were insulted daily, treated as second class citizens and obliged to fight for the right to vote, to participate in sports, to earn higher education, to hold office, and to lead companies.

Today I did not have the strength to join my sisters and take to the streets, but tomorrow I will rise. I will return to the gym, encouraging my international athletes to keep fighting in face of defeat. To take that energy, that strength, that power back to their homelands and to use their gifts to make a better world.

From our streets to our offices to our playing fields discrimination remains insidious and girls are still reminded in so many subtle and not so subtle ways that they don’t count.

I cannot change public policy, but I can make a difference. Everyday. I can use my voice, my example, my courage to inspire other girls and minorities to reach for the stars, to believe that they count just as much as their white brothers and that their contribution is equally valuable.

We must all continue to make our voices heard.

Posted in inspiration, relationships, social view.

14 Comments

  1. Oh this resonates so much with me dear Pat ???? We surely do make a difference each and every day that we hold our heads up as women, every day that we raise our daughters to be more aware and unaccepting of sexism, every day that we write and influence others through our gender-oriented pieces, and every day that we get out of bed to navigate another day in a patriarchal world. I marched with you in spirit ???? Keep the fires burning and we will all add a stick, plank, or tree to it when it begins to die. Lots of love, miss your passion! Hope the Spring brings youbetter health xxx

    • I know you are making a difference for women every step of the way, so keep on dancing in face of injustice. Thanks as always for your inspiration.

  2. Thanks Pat. It takes courage to stand up to a bully and not passively watch him beat up on people. Time to get to work.

  3. Well Written, Pat!! Yes we can and yes we will let our voices rise to stop the bullies!! Keep the Faith!

  4. Well said, Pat. And you DO make a difference. You are such a great role model to these women athletes. So happy you finally wrote your life story. What a great example of a woman who fights for her rights and continues to do so even today.

    • Thanks Tina and I know that you do the same in your work guiding TKCs. I feel you are right with me in spirit, but still wish we were sharing the same bench again.

  5. I was one of about 15,000 that marched in Omaha on a winter evening in January. It was an amazing experience and I no longer felt so alone or isolated in my distress at the election of the Trump. We need to stay vigilant and make a difference.

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